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Young Black Scholars program aims to close the graduation gap for Black students

OW Staff | 9/12/2011, 5 p.m.

Celebrating 25 years, the signature Los Angeles based program has assisted more than 21,000 African-American students into college

LOS ANGELES - Since 1986, the Young Black Scholars (YBS) college preparatory program has assisted more than 21,000 Los Angeles area Black students into college--and the program is looking to increase that number with the start of the 2011-12 academic school year.

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, YBS will hold its annual academic launch and orientation for new and returning 9th through 12th grade students and their parents at West Los Angeles College.
Themed, "Marked for Excellence," organizers have issued a call to action to African-American parents of high school students in the Los Angeles area in hopes of attracting more students into the program which is known for its success rate in helping students and parents prepare for the college admissions process.

"It's more important than ever that our students receive the assistance they need to make it through high school and into college," says Dr. Virginia C. Hathaway, interim executive director of the Young Black Scholars program. "Unlike other college prep program, ours puts a focus on Black students to make sure that they have an opportunity for success."

YBS administrators and organizers work with parents and students to make sure that students meet or exceed University of California school system entrance requirements upon graduation. In addition, the program offers workshops, seminars, and conferences throughout the academic school year including training for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT admissions exams.

"When 31 percent of African-American students drop out of high school in one year, there is a serious crisis," explains Jewett L. Walker, Jr. president and chairman of the board of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, the parent organization of the Young Black Scholars program.

"In 2010, L.A.U.S.D. reported that 31 percent of Black students enrolled in high school simply dropped out. That's a problem that Blacks simply can't afford to ignore."

Walker is intently focused on using programs like Young Black Scholars to close the graduation gap which has African-American students with a graduation rate of 59 percent compared to that of 59% for Latinos, 83.4% for whites, and 89.4% for Asians.

"I've issued a challenge to educators, lawmakers, parents, teachers, and students to make the graduation of our children our collective responsibility."

Under Walker's leadership, the influential 100 Black Men of Los Angeles continues to make education, leadership development, and mentoring a priority for its members. From grassroots fundraising events to soliciting corporate sponsorships, Walker says he's leaving no stone unturned in an effort to keep the program--which is already on over 170 Los Angeles area high school campuses--funded and available to current and future students.

Even though 100 Black Men of Los Angeles sponsor the Young Black Scholars program, it is coed and open to all new and returning students in grades 9 through 12 who meet the GPA requirements. For more information, please log onto www.youngblackscholars.com.

The Young Black Scholars Academic Launch and 2011 Orientation will take place Saturday, September 17 from 12 NOON to 3 P.M. at West Los Angeles College in the Fine Arts Building. Parents and students are invited. Applications can be obtained by visiting www.youngblackscholars.com or by calling (310) 287-7230.

What:
Young Black Scholars 2011-12 Academic Launch and Orientation

When:
Saturday, September 17, 2011
12 P.M. to 3 P.M.

Where:
West Los Angeles College
Fine Arts Building
9000 Overland Avenue, D5

Contact:
(310) 287-7230
www.youngblackscholars.com